Jim D'Amico Improves the Candidate Experience


Today I am speaking at the MNREC event in Minneapolis. The topic is improving the candidate experience in recruiting.

I’ve had the opportunity to do field work on the matter, as I’ve spent the last five months conducting my own job search. I’ve applied to over 250 jobs with companies of all sizes and scopes. I’ve had many interviews and site visits as a result. My initial conclusion, less than 3% of the companies are doing it right.

Why is candidate experience important?

  1. Engagement begins in the recruiting process. How you treat a candidate now sets the tone for how they feel they will be treated in the future.
  2. Say what you will about your employment brand, but if you have a crappy candidate experience, then that’s your true employment brand.
  3. Candidates are possibly current or future customers. Does your process treat them as such?

Let’s look at each of the steps, and how they can be improved:

The Jobs Page: How many clicks to get to the job I want to apply to? Is it easy to find? Make sure your instructions are easy to follow for the candidate.

The Application: Does it take longer than 10 minutes to complete? Will I have to re-enter redundant information? Will I need to input reference information? Do you ask professional candidates lame prescreening questions such as “How many times have you been late to work in the last year?” If yes to any of these, you need to either re-haul your application, or provide a detailed description of what to expect and why . The surprise at encountering any of these is a negative experience, explain what to expect upfront and you’ll avoid that aspect.

The Phone Interview: Yes, you need to gather information about a candidates experience and background, but just as importantly you need to convey your value proposition to the candidate. Why should they be interested in this role/company, what’s in it for them.

The On-Site Interview: Again, it’s important to use this time assessing the candidates experience and fit, but remember this is your best opportunity to show the candidate your culture and value proposition in action. Four quick tips:

  • Don’t schedule the candidate for multiple interviews and then have unprepared interviewers meet with them only to have the same interview questions asked by each person.
  • Sell the candidate on the opportunity with same amount of effort you expect them to sell you on themselves.
  • Respect the candidates time. If you will dock them points for showing up late, expect them to do the same for your team.
  • Treat them like your best customer.

Offer or Rejection: If making an offer, make your best offer upfront (hopefully you preclosed), to avoid awkward negotiations. If rejecting, use class and this guideline, if you’ve never interviewed, an automated letter is fine, once you’ve interviewed a phone call is appropriate. Let them down easy and professionally, remember this is a potential customer, and possibly a future source of referrals.


Jim D’Amico is a recruiting leader, HR professional, and an all-around nice guy with a great sense of humor. You can find him on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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